Jewish Journal


July 26, 2007

‘Golda’s Girls’ inspire, Riva’s 100th birthday, Maimonides in Manhattan


(From left) Marilyn Golden, master of ceremonies Mike Burstyn, Judy Felsenthal and Renee Firestone

(From left) Marilyn Golden, master of ceremonies Mike Burstyn, Judy Felsenthal and Renee Firestone

'Golda' Girls

To honor the spirit of Israel's most famous female, the Four Seasons Hotel rolled out the red carpet on May 3 for this year's Golda Meir Luncheon, sponsored by the Women's Division of State of Israel Bonds. Exemplifying the "Three Faces of Golda" were honorees Judy Felsenthal, Renee Firestone and Marilyn Golden, each recognized for her outstanding commitment to Jewish activism and the State of Israel.

In order to attend the swanky event -- that boasts a $5.5 million dollar gift to the Israeli government -- 175 people each purchased a minimum of $5,000 in Israel bonds (an investment with interest rates of 5 percent and higher).

Women's Division Director Brigitte Medvin was quick to note that Israel bonds are not for military development, but rather intended for needs like building roads, public transportation and city sanitation.

Rabbi David Wolpe commended Felsenthal for her extensive involvement in the Jewish and Los Angeles communities, serving as board member and past president of the Amie Karen Cancer Fund for Children and on the Executive Council of Cedars-Sinai Hospital Board of Governors.

The resilient Firestone, who was born in Czechoslovakia and imprisoned at Auschwitz, was honored for her devotion to Jewish continuity. Upon immigration to the United States, she began a career in fashion design and soon became a preeminent Holocaust educator, participating in films, documentaries and most notably, Steven Spielberg's Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation.

Golden not only shares a name but a history with the first-and-only female prime minister, having associated with Meir's confidante and founder of Israel Bonds, Lou Boyer. She was inspired to become a charter member of the Golda Meir Club -- and though I'm unfamiliar with their mission, I already like it better than The Jonathan Club.

Consul General Ehud Danoch greeted Los Angeles' leading Jewish ladies, which reportedly delighted luncheon chairs Dalia Farkas and Yafa Hakim, as well as Women's Division chairs Beverly Cohen and Iris Rothstein, one of whom is rumored to have a stake in the fancy Four Seasons.

And just what were the honorable honorees gifted with? Women's Division director Brigitte Medvin described the prize as a "beautiful lucite triangular [memento] with a shadowy profile etching of Golda's face."

Now that's certainly worth five grand.

Better With Age Riva Rashkovskaya
WeHo-ho-ho for this West Hollywood woman on the occasion of her 100th birthday. Riva Rashkovskaya hit the triple digits on June 6 and Jewish Family Service sponsored a birthday bash for their local hero with pizza, salad, coffee and cake. Ms. Rashkovskaya hails from Odessa, Ukraine and moved to the United States in 1989.

"I am very happy that such a big crowd showed up for my birthday," Rashkovskaya said. "I want to thank the staff here for being so nice and taking such good care of me. I wish that everyone will live to 120!"

That's a lovely thought, Ms. Rashkovskaya, but 120 years in Tinseltown is one too many face-lifts for me. Lucky for you, you're a natural Ukranian beauty; and I just love the birthday hat.

Maimonides on the March eighth graders from Maimonides Academy
A group of eighth-graders from Maimonides Academy proved that a six-hour plane ride was no obstacle to demonstrating their support for Israel.

Along with 100,000 others, they proudly marched through the streets of Manhattan, from 56th to 79th streets, waving the Israeli flag and singing "Hava Nagila."

The Salute to Israel Parade commemorated the 1948 founding of the State of Israel and attracted New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski to a festive celebration with floats sponsored by El-Al Airlines, JDate and Hadassah.

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Anthony Weiner joined the crowd in chanting "Am Yisrael Chai."

Not bad for the second-greatest city for Jewish life in America. Maimonides, way to represent!

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